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Back Pain - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Back pain or lower back pain can happen for several problems with any part of the interconnected network of spinal nerves, muscles, bones, tendons or discs in the lumber spine.

Some of the typical causes for back pain are:

  • The small nerves on the lower back may get irritated
  • The large nerve root (sciatica nerve) that go down to the legs may get irritated
  • The large paired erector spinae muscle may get strained
  • The joints, bones or ligaments may get damaged
  • The intervertebral disc may get degenerated

Although it can happen at any age, back pain, especially lower back pain occurs in people who are in their 40s. Back pain is typically characterized by a localized pattern of discomfort in the lower back area that mostly occurs after an event that culminated in stressing the lumber tissues.

The severity of this condition, depends on a number of issues, which comprises of the degree of the strain and also the resulting spasm of the lower back muscles that occurred owing to the trauma.

Diagnosis of back pain is generally done by the doctors based on the location of the pain and history of the injury. X-ray is usually performed on the patients suffering from this ailment which helps in excluding osteological abnormalities. The most popular treatment for all kinds of back pains or lumber strains consists of resting the back to avoid subsequent injury. Apart from that reconditioning exercises are also prescribed to the patients to strengthen the back muscles along with medications to relieve pain and muscular spasms. Local heat applications are also advised to the back pain patients along with massage which is often done by certified physiotherapists.

In rare cases back pain can also be a sign of CES (Cauda Equina Syndrome), which is a condition that requires immediate surgical treatment.

In patients suffering from CES, something compresses their spinal nerve roots, which cause severe pain. As the cauda equine are a bundle of nerve roots which is located in the lumbosacral spine and sends messages to the brain from the feet, legs and pelvic organs, inability to provide a fast treatment, often leads to lasting damage which can lead to incontinency and also permanent paralysis of the legs.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is also prescribed at time along with a Myelogram (X-ray of the spinal cord after injecting contrast material into the spine), which aids in pinpointing the pressure point on the spinal nerves or on the spinal cord.

Can't be cured, but treatment helps Require medical diagnosis Lab test sometimes required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks
Leg numbness Pins and needles sensation Sensitivity to pain Muscle spasms

Popular Health Tips

6 Myths And Facts About Pain

M.P.T(NEUROSCIENCES), in yoga and naturopathy
Physiotherapist, Kanchipuram
6 Myths And Facts About Pain
MYTH 1: Pain is always caused by an underlying tissue damage FACT 1: There need not be a tissue damage for pain to occur. In majority of the cases mere postural deviations,muscle tightness, inadequate joint range and reduced neural mobility,decreased soft tissue(fascia) flexibility can cause pain. MYTH 2: Degenerative changes in the joint(as seen in the X-ray and MRI) is the primary cause of pain. FACT 2: Movement dysfunctions like loss of the intrinsic joint play movements and adverse neural tension cause most of the pain ,rather than degeneration. MYTH 3: Pain Should not be treated based on radiological (x-ray, MRI) reports. FACT 3: Pain should be treated based on patient history and physical assessment. Radiological or laboratory investigations should be used only to rule out any potential red flag(harmful) pathologies.ex; tuberculosis spine, inflammatory arthropathy, fracture, dislocation etc. MYTH 4: Treatment should be given exactly in the area of pain. FACT 4: In most instances the cause of pain is present in an area distant to the site of actual pain and hence the treatment should focus on removing the cause of pain rather than alleviating the symptoms in the area of pain.ex: most of the knee pain is caused by a dysfunction in low back (lumbar) and hip (pelvis) regions. MYTH 5: The painful joint should not be moved and weight should not be transferred through the joint. FACT 5:. Normal movement within the painless range is mandatory for the recovery and graded protective loading of the affected structureS is vital for the re- modeling of the collagen in the soft tissues and functional recovery. MYTH 6: Pain is a disease and hence it should be treated. FACT6: Pain is only a symptom of an underlying disease or a dysfunction and hence when the cause of pain is treated pain vanishes by itself.
3 people found this helpful

How To Treat Vata Dosha?

Dr. Kalpesh Mande 87% (29 ratings)
MD - Ayurveda, BAMS
Ayurveda, Navi Mumbai
How To Treat Vata Dosha?
Aggravated Vata Dosha causes the degeneration of tissues and the joints of the cervical spine. Spondylosis refers to a degenerative process affecting the vertebral disc and facet joints that gradually develops with age. Symptoms: Headache Vertigo Stiffness in the neck Tingling & Numbness in arms Pain in back of neck & shoulders How to treat easily: Our Advanced Combination therapy has a very effective approach to the treatment of this disease. Plan of treatment starts with diet modifications, lifestyle changes, stress management, herbal medication and Panchakarma therapies, Physiotherapy, Dry needling, that help the body get back to balance state. The focus of our treatment is to cure root Causes of Cervical spondylosis. This treatment is followed by administration of herbal medicines such as Bala, Ashwagandha, Shalmali niryas, etc. that regulates the Vata Dosha & rejuvenate the body tissues. Nasya: This therapy is effective in clearing and cleansing the head region. At the beginning of the therapy, the head and shoulder regions are given a gentle massage and medicated Steam. In the condition of cervical spondylosis we apply bruhan nasya. It will be medicated oil or herbal powder it depends on condition of disease. Nasal drops are administered in both the nostrils. This brings about the cleaning of the entire head region and it is also helpful in nourishing and balancing Vata dosha. Manyabasti: In manya Basti specially prepared warm herbal oil is poured over the back of neck and retained inside a well created using black gram paste or whole wheat flour. Nasya & Manyabasti resulting relieves stress Improves flexibility and brings smooth movement. Improves circulation around the neck and shoulder region. Relieves pain and stiffness.
3 people found this helpful

Vertebroplasty - How It Can Help Manage Pain?

Dr. K J Choudhury 84% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MD, M.N.A.M.S(Anaesthesiology), FWACS
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi
Vertebroplasty - How It Can Help Manage Pain?
Vertebroplasty means shaping the backbone i.e. vertebra for backbone and plasty is related to shape. This is an outpatient procedure done to treat compression fractures of the spinal cord. The backbone is made up of multiple small bones which are stacked one on top of the other with a filling material in between that is known as vertebrae. The stack of bones are held in place by the soft, elastic vertebral material. Vertebroplasty & similar procedure called kyphoplasty is a non-surgical procedure where collapsed vertebrae is brought back to shape by injecting medical bone cement under fluroscopy / image intensifier in OT, thereby relieving pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves with special canula directed to the core of vertebral body. Indicated in osteoporotic vertebrae, spinal fracture, metastatic tumour or primary tumour of spine. This technique has replaced major surgery done earlier to reshape & fix vertabrae. Technique: Bone cement, in a semisolid state, is injected into the weakened or fractured bone space. Once this solidifies, it provides additional support to the spine, enabling normal movement. It also helps in reducing the pain significantly and improves the overall mobility. Procedure: In what takes about an hour, the following steps are done. Earlier, a few decades ago, this would be an open surgical procedure. However, with advance technology, now it is done using a small incision Local anesthesia is given in the area that needs to be operated A biopsy needle is inserted into the fractured space with the help of an X-ray The acrylic bone cement is injected into the bone space with a needle to fill up the space, once it solidifies, it stabilizes the vertebral space The needle is removed and the incision is covered with a bandage Usually the patient is sent home in an hour s time unless the overall condition is really bad There could be some soreness at the site where injection is given, but one can notice a significant reduction in pain from the day of the procedure There is also improvement in mobility while doing daily chores The pain relief can last up to 3 years after the procedure Returning back to normal activities takes about 3 to 4 days after the procedure When to use this procedure? Vertebroplasty is usually done in case of non-radicular pain that is intractable. In most cases, they do not respond to traditional therapies including physiotherapy, pain medications and even surgery. The pain could be due to: Osteoporosis Cancer metastasis Myeloma Spinal hemangiomas Traumatic fractures Benefits of using vertebroplasty for managing pain Minimally invasive Effective way to get relief Improves mobility Cost-effective Reduces need for long-term use of painkillers Stabilizes the spine and prevents further collapse
1 person found this helpful

Homeopathy Treatment For Ankylosing Spondylitis!

Dr. Prashant Sharma 88% (16 ratings)
Homeopath, Jaipur
Homeopathy Treatment For Ankylosing Spondylitis!
The spine or the backbone is responsible for the fluid movement of the body, especially standing, bending, and sideways movement. It also is an important part of the nervous system and carries multiple nerves to the lower part of the body. The lower spine has sacral and iliac vertebrae, which have disks between the vertebral bones where these nerves are located. With age, infection, tumors, or injury, this soft tissue becomes hardened and get the bones to fuse. This is a type of arthritis known as ankylosing spondylitis and limits movement between the disks. Causes: With age, the soft vertebral tissue gradually hardens. There is a genetic component also to this, so it runs in families. In addition, infection or tumors of the spine and injuries involving the spine can also lead to this condition. Symptoms: When AS ankylosing spondylitis (AS) onsets, there is usually morning pain and stiffness in the low back and upper buttocks. The intensity of this gradually reduces over the course of the day. The range of movement also is reduced, with bending, stooping, and sideward movement becoming gradually difficult. It is believed that people with AS have an overactive immune system, and homeopathy helps by suppressing this activity. A homeopath will have a detailed discussion with the patient and based on the presenting symptoms, an appropriate product would be prescribed. Aesculus: The patient would have extremely painful and stiff low back and hips. It would be constant ache with walking and stooping, and it is not easy to rise from a sitting position. The patient also feels that the legs would give way, making them hesitant to walk. Rhus Tox: When the patient presents with low back pain that is present at rest, with sitting and inactivity, Rhus is usually preferred. The pain improves with activity and movement and radiates down the legs all the way to the foot. Kali Carb: If the patient presents with extreme weakness also and feels like a paralytic attack, as if the back is broken. The patient feels the symptoms are worse in the morning and changing position in bed. Kalmia: If the patient has pain associated with a prickly, numbing sensation, then this is used. There also could be burning sensation. The pain appears in bursts in the late evening and early night hours and could also go down the legs or up into the neck. As with any other disease, homeopathy looks at the person holistically and treats the symptoms. The patient should not go for self-medication based on some reading and friends suggestions. Each person is unique in terms of symptoms and treatment, and so the doctor is the best person to decide the appropriate medicine.
4504 people found this helpful

Low Back Pain in Athletes

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (18136 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Noida
Low Back Pain in Athletes
After twenty one years of practice, I have come to the conclusion that low back problems occurring in athletes require more than the usual amount of attention. The symptoms of low back pain occurring in athletes can often behave in an extremely mystifying and confusing fashion. A combination of several factors add to this confusion. First, athletes are highly motivated to participate in their treatment and sometimes carry to excess the advice given to the min an attempt to speed recovery. This over exuberant participation in the rehabilitation of their back problem very often delays rather than accelerates the healing process. A second point to be noted is that the athlete's or sportsman's enthusiasm to participate in their favorite pastime or sport leads them to return to full participation, often long before sufficient time has passed to allow for complete healing. The third and certainly the most common source of confusion can stern from the frequent belief of athletes that the sole cause of their problem lies in their frequent participation in a particular sporting activity. Subsequently, this belief is reinforced by a health provider who all too often comes to the same conclusion. It is not difficult to reach this conclusion, for probably three out of five athletes who experience low back pain state that their pain appears after they have participated in sport or indulged in some equally vigorous activity. The belief that pain appearing shortly after activity must be caused by the activity itself is widespread and understandable but unfortunately frequently mistaken. The true cause of pain in these individuals is frequently the adoption of a slouched position following the thorough exercising of their joints . After exertion we usually sit down and relax:as we are tired, the relaxed sitting posture is adopted almost immediately. In other words, after vigorous exercising we collapse in a heap and slouch badly. Joints of the spine during the process of vigorous exercise are moved rapidly in many directions over an extended period of time. This process causes a thorough stretching in all directions of the soft tissues surrounding the joints. In addition, the fluid gel content of the spinal discs is loosened, and it seems that distortion or displacement can occur if an exercised joint is subsequently placed in an extreme posture. This is so often the cause of back pain in athletes and can be proven rather easily. If low back pain has in fact occurred as a result of participation in a sport, then recommending rest from activity would be appropriate advice. However, if the pain has appeared after the activity has been completed and has occurred as a result of adopting a slouched sitting posture, such advice would be entirely inappropriate. To advise an athlete to cease participation in his favourite pastime can have serious consequences, both emotional and physical . If you are an athlete, or if you participate in vigorous activity sand have recently developed low back pain, it is necessary to expose the true cause of this problem in order to treat your condition correctly and successfully: we must determine whether your pain appeared during the particular activity or whether it developed afterward. If the pain appeared during the activity itself, then your sport may well be the cause of the present problems. You may remember something which happened at the time of the activity and can describe what you felt at that moment. But a very large number of people who have back pain and participate in a sport never feel discomfort or pain while they are participating or competing; their pain appears after the activity.It is easy to determine if your low back problems are the result of slouched sitting. From now on,immediately after activity you should watch your posture closely and sit correctly with the low back in moderate lordosis supported by a lumbar roll For example, if you have completed a few sets of tennis, if you have finished a round of golf, or competed in a football game,you must not then sink into a comfortable lounge chair or slouch in the car when you drive home. You must sit correctly with posture maintained meticulously Should no pain eventuate as a result of this extra postural care, the answer to your problem is clear and the responsibility for preventing further trouble is entirely your own. If you fall into the group of people who develop pain only after activity, it is undesirable for you to begin the exercises at the same time as commencing the postural correction. If the exercises are performed in conjunction with postural correction, it is impossible to determine from which source the improvement was derived. If your pain continues to appear after activity in spite of correcting your posture, it is possible that you have weakened or damaged some of the soft tissues in your low back. Poor posture is often seen in athletes during intervals of non participation: for example when waiting their tum to high jump,throw the discus or bat at baseball. It is necessary to maintain good posture during these intervals as well as after completion of the activity.
1 person found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Joint pain in ankle ,wrist and backache. Feel weak .pain behind the neck too. Have stopped having periods since 5 months .I have thyroid n take throxin 100 mg last 18 yars. What to do have huge belly and weight is 85 kg?

Dr. Julie Mercy J David Raja 89% (5151 ratings)
Erasmus Mundus Master in Adapted Physical Activity, MPT, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Chennai
Our suggestion would be to do hot water fermentation along with Cold (ice) therapy. You shall also keep a pillow under the knee while sleeping, next is you can keep ice in the painful area for about 5--10 minutes.

Hello doctor, Can any one please suggest what treatment is suggested on lower back pain, facing problem with forward bending with severe pain.

Dr. Julie Mercy J David Raja 89% (5151 ratings)
Erasmus Mundus Master in Adapted Physical Activity, MPT, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Chennai
This is a general low back ache and for this you can follow these measures: one keep a pillow right under the knee while sleeping, next is you can keep ice in the painful area for about 5--10 minutes, if pain still persists you can stretch your body by twisting the waist on both sides how we used to do in the school drill similarly you can try which will help you relax as well will reduce the pain. It looks like you are anaemic. If you have back pain after you sit for long hours then it is due to your haemoglobin levels as it is important to check that. Anaemia always leads to the symptoms of being tired and also having back / leg pain though there may not be any pathological reasons for back pain. If you have leg pain then you have to rule out the casues for having leg pain. First of all check your weight and your haemoglobin levels, as Anaemia always leads to the symptoms of being tired and also having leg pain though there are no issues with the knee joint or back pain. If not if the pain radiates down the back of thigh and legs then it might be due to sciatica. Kindly consult the nearby physiotherapist. Hope you recover soon from the leg pain. •Standing hamstring stretch: Place the heel of your injured leg on a stool about 15 inches high. Keep your knee straight. Lean forward, bending at the hips until you feel a mild stretch in the back of your thigh. Make sure you do not roll your shoulders and bend at the waist when doing this or you will stretch your lower back instead of your leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. •Cat and camel: Get down on your hands and knees. Let your stomach sag, allowing your back to curve downward. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Then arch your back and hold for 5 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10. •Quadruped arm/leg raise: Get down on your hands and knees. Tighten your abdominal muscles to stiffen your spine. While keeping your abdominals tight, raise one arm and the opposite leg away from you. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Lower your arm and leg slowly and alternate sides. Do this 10 times on each side. •Pelvic tilt: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and push your lower back into the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then relax. Do 3 sets of 10. •Partial curl: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles. Tuck your chin to your chest. With your hands stretched out in front of you, curl your upper body forward until your shoulders clear the floor. Hold this position for 3 seconds. Don't hold your breath. It helps to breathe out as you lift your shoulders up. Relax. Repeat 10 times. Build to 3 sets of 10. To challenge yourself, clasp your hands behind your head and keep your elbows out to the side. •Gluteal stretch: Lying on your back with both knees bent, rest the ankle of one leg over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the thigh of the bottom leg and pull that knee toward your chest. You will feel a stretch along the buttocks and possibly along the outside of your hip on the top leg. Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. •Extension exercise: Lie face down on the floor for 5 minutes. If this hurts too much, lie face down with a pillow under your stomach. This should relieve your leg or back pain. When you can lie on your stomach for 5 minutes without a pillow, then you can continue with the rest of this exercise.

After doing deadlift in gym I got a severe lower back pain assuming it's a back spasm. I can hardly walk and felt my hip distorted towards left side. My posture also changed as I'm leaning right side. Please help me to recover fast.

Dr. Sachin Rathod 93% (156 ratings)
MBBS, D'Ortho, DNB (Orthopedics)
Orthopedist, Mumbai
Hello lybrate-user, it's looks like you acute slip disc avoid lifting heavy wt, bed rest and analgesics with muscle relaxant will be helpful followed by physiotherapy.

I have a friend F/24 she met with a light accident when a vehicle hit her few months back and suffered minor injury in back and some scratches but now after few days she faces backache suggest any diet/exercise. She don't face any fracture but feel pains sometimes Thanks.

Dr. Bharath Raj .R 93% (183 ratings)
MBBS, DNB - Orthopedics, Fellowship in Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine
Orthopedist, Bangalore
If x-ray has taken and confirmed no fracture then don't do any exercises for 4 to 6 weeks as muscles need time to recover. Diet all food is good food. No restrictions.

Health Quizzes

Back Pain Treatment With Ayurveda!

Dr. Anoop Negi 92% (322 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), MBA (Healthcare)
Ayurveda, Dehradun
People with severe back pain should avoid the use of spices, especially ginger and turmeric. True or False. Take this quiz to know now!
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98 people took this quiz

Back Pain - How Physiotherapy Can Help?

Dr. Mahesh G 88% (10 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Bangalore
Back pain is very common and almost all of us experience it at some point of time in our lives. For patients suffering from back pain that lasts for more than two weeks or for patients experiencing it frequently, physiotherapy may be recommended. Take the following quiz to understand how physiotherapy can help patients suffering from back pain.
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181 people took this quiz

Lower Back Pain - Do You Think You Need Surgery?

MCh - Neurosurgery, MBBS
Neurosurgeon, Chennai
Back pain can return even after surgical correction. True or false? Take this quiz to know more.
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310 people took this quiz

Did you know that simple home remedies can help with a backache?

Dr. Hiren Raval 89% (86 ratings)
MD - Ayurveda
Did you know that simple home remedies can help with a backache? Take this quiz to find out more!
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682 people took this quiz

Ayurvedic Treatment for Lower Back Pain!!

Dr. Pragya Singh 90% (462 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Lucknow
Back pain can be psychosomatic. True or False. Take this quiz to know now!
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1243 people took this quiz

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